Strong Women

Conversations with women about their lived experience in northern Minnesota.  Search your podcast sources for Strong Women.

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Jen Sincero is a badass.  She was always cool – she once played in a punk band called Crotch and worked at a record company – but she became a true badass when she took control of her financial struggles and created the life she truly wanted for herself.  Since then, she’s authored several badass books: You are a Badass, You are a Badass Every Day, You are a Badass at Making Money, and her latest book Badass Habits.  In this Area Voices segment, Sincero talks with host Katie Carter about her shift from punk band member to life coach, inspirational speaker, and now best-selling author. She also shares solid advice from Badass Habits, a collection of wisdom and a step-by-step guide for readers committed to ditching habits that don’t serve them and developing the habits necessary for the life they want to live. 

It actually changes your brain. It changes your body, your perception of your body, and it changes your spirit, too. - Gabrielle Congrave Baggenstoss, Support Within Reach


Support Within Reach is an area nonprofit dedicated to helping victims of sexual violence.  Gabrielle Congrave Baggenstoss is a Regional Navigator for Support Within Reach. In this Area Voices segment, she discusses her work, explains sexual exploitation and who is at greatest risk, discusses the prevalence of sex trafficking in our region, addresses date rape, and educates on both the psychological effects of sexual violence and how to help individuals who’ve been traumatized it.

This week for our Strong Women series we had the chance to talk with 2 women from Bemidji.  Dawn Goodwin is cofounder of RISE coalition; she is a Representative of the Indigenous Environmental Network and Simone Senogles is the Food Sovereignty Program Coordinat

Today we featured local mom, wife, daughter and business owner (Itasca Dog Lodge) Tiffiney Bartz.  She has begun something she calls the #joymovementmn.  Besides providing good cheer on facebook, she has been raising money for people in need and publicizing local organizations and groups that are doing good in the community like yesterday's conversation with

Iron Range cookbook author Mona Abel joins Heidi and John on the Thursday Morning Show to talk about her new cookbook “Let’s Party”.  Mona tells us about her love for making and eating pasties, when to enjoy cocktail hour, she shares some new recipes and old favorites and most importantly answers the question of gravy or no gravy with pasties.

You can find out more about purchasing “Let’s Party” and listen to Mona’s blogs at

Louise Waakaa'igan spent 16 years in prison.  During that time, she leaned on a coping mechanism she developed in her early teens - poetry.   Inspired and encouraged by the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop,  she honed her writing skills while incarcerated.

…rather than looking at the incident itself that led them there or the series of incidents, I turn over the platform for these incredible poets and prose writers and memoirists to share their words and to share their humanity in a hope that we can collapse that gap between us and them... And I think that this project We Are All Criminals certainly does seek to shine a spotlight on the racial disparities within our criminal legal system from the start to the end and then back again...

Prisons… they don't disappear problems. They disappear people and they exacerbate problems.  

Emily Baxter, We Are All Criminals

Local Election Judge Sonja Merrild

Oct 29, 2020

Sonja Merrild, a local election judge in the Grand Rapids area, joins Heidi Holtan on Making Sausage.  Sonja moved here from Denmark years ago, then become a US citizen in 2016, in time to vote in that year’s election. 

This election year she asked herself what she could do to help her community and made the decision to become an election judge.  Sonja talks about what it means for her to serve in this position and she tells us she feels confident that in her county, things will remain fair and safe on election day.

We’re living in a politically divided pandemic.  We look to our leaders hoping for some understanding beyond politics.  Understanding of the complexity of everyone’s lives.  For many of us, there is someone who understands.  Who gives us hope.  But sadly, she’s not running for president.  She’s been described as the most powerful, least political feminist in the world.  That person is Dolly Parton.

Since March, all of us in Minnesota have had a different life. All of us in the world are figuring out how to live in a pandemic.

Politics have divided not just our small towns and families, but the Minnesota Legislature and the executive branch. Governor Walz is one of 49 governors around our nation that still hold executive power. During the pandemic, along with President Trump.